How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 2

planning calendar

Today we continue a series here on Catechist’s Journey that will lay out for you the steps to successfully implement small faith groups in your parish with an eye on Lent as a target. I am drawing on the successful experience of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago, where last year over 200 parishioners gathered in homes during the season of Lent to participate in small faith groups.

The success of the efforts at St. Barnabas is grounded in the fact that the parish did not simply purchase a “canned” program but rather developed a process that was suited to the needs of the parish community. The end result was an initiative that they named “Companions on the Journey.”

Here are the first steps toward successfully planning and implementing small faith groups in your parish.

4–6 Months Out

  • Assign a staff coordinator for the initiative.
  • Gather (assemble if needed) the parish adult faith formation commission/team to serve as the animating/organizing body for the initiative.
  • With that team, define the mission, goals, and objectives for a successful initiative.
  • Identify which staff members will be needed for the initiative, and define their participation and responsibilities.
  • Establish a budget policy for the initiative (which budget absorbs the costs for kick-off and promotional materials, participant resources, etc.).
  • Define team and individual roles along with brief descriptions for those roles (staff “buy in” is essential for success).

In my next post, we’ll look at identifying, inviting, and training group leaders.

Read the first post in the series: How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 1.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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